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Snap Inc. drops Snapbot vending machines to sell Spectacles in the US

We knew Snap Inc.’s first piece of hardware, Spectacles would be coming out soon, but it looks like today’s the day (November 10th), with a specialised vending machine called the Snapbot appearing on Venice Beach near the company’s original headquarters in California.

Snapbots will serve as the only way to officially purchase Spectacles at launch and take the form of bright yellow vending machines with an animated cycloptic eye – apparently designed by the Spectacles team to offer a little bit more personality to a typically cold transaction.

Customers can try on any of the three different Spectacles colourways (black, teal or coral) virtually by standing in front of the Snapbot and pressing one of the corresponding buttons under the display; the customer will then see their chosen colour of Spectacles tracked to their face in much the same way that Snapchat utilises its Lenses overlay technology.

Presently there is only one Snapbot, located in Venice Beach in Los Angeles and it’s already amassed a considerable queue of curious early adopters looking to try out Snap Inc.’s new connected eyewear, with one punter offering up their spot in line for $600. Spectacles from the first Snapbot cost $129.99 plus taxes, with a limit of two transactions per customer. The machine initially sold out of Spectacles within the first hour of use and social media channels have lit up with people testing the machine out since it appeared.

Just hours after the Snapbot was activated, one pair of coral Spectacles has already found its way to eBay, priced at $175 (plus $17 for postage), but right now those eager to test out the new specs that aren’t local to Snap Inc.’s hometown might have to resort to such measures to get ahold of a pair.

Snapbot map

The company has added a ‘Find a Bot’ map tool to the official Spectacles website, which will show the location of new Snapbots up to 24 hours before they actually appear, but machines like the one currently in Venice Beach are only expected to remain there for up to 24 hours before they’re removed.

Currently, Snap Inc. says it has no plans to bring Snapbots to markets outside of the US such as the UK and Europe and is likely using this distinctive retail method to pique interest and to manage demand.

If you want to know more about Snap Inc. and Spectacles, read our explainer feature here or click here to find out more about Snapchat.

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